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Redshirts [Paperback]

John Scalzi
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Nov 2012

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It's a prestige posting, and Andrew is even more delighted when he's assigned to the ship's Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn't be better . . . although there are a few strange things going on . . . :

(1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces

(2) the ship's captain, the chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these encounters

(3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Suddenly it's less surprising how much energy is expended below decks on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned an Away Mission. Andrew's fate may have been sealed . . . until he stumbles on a piece of information that changes everything . . . and offers him and his fellow redshirts a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives . . .


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (15 Nov 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0575134291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575134294
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 15.3 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 321,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Scalzi won the 2006 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and his debut novel Old Man's War was a finalist for the Hugo Award. His other novels include The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony, and The Android's Dream. He lives in southern Ohio with his wife and daughter.


Product Description

Book Description

They were expendable . . . until they started comparing notes! This is a must-read novel for all fans of smart, witty SF.

From the Inside Flap

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the flagship Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid It's a prestige posting, and life couldn't be better . . . until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that:

- Every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces.

- The ship's captain, its chief science officer and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations.

- At least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues' understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is . . . and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea but terrible execution 16 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for this book, having seen it was on a few 'Best of..' lists. Certainly the premise appealed to me as a fan of Sci-Fi shows and Star Trek in particular. Sadly it was a poor book. It is written almost entirely in dialogue, with each speech bubble being followed by a 'said SO-AND-SO.' After a while that gets really irritating.

'Shall we go down here' said Bill
'Let's' said Tom
'I don't know what we'll find' said Bill
'Neither do I' said Tom.

Also I found the characters to be poorly developed. They were all a bit snarky with no real defining features beyond perhaps their sex. (the female character being the only one really to have her sexuality brought into it).

I almost didn't finish it but decided in the end to push on through. It wasn't worth it.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Come on, Andy! 19 Jun 2012
By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book, not having read much of Scalzi's previous work, mainly for its intriguing premise. What if, several centuries in the future, in a universe somewhat like that of "Star Trek" - starships, a galactic federation, aliens, diplomacy, space battles - the junior crew (and in particular, Ensign Andy Dahl) on one of those ships start to ask awkward questions - questions about why there are so many pointless, contrived and unlikely deaths among their ranks?

The title alone seemed to promise an amusing read, enlivened by geeky in-references. If you're interested in the book you'll probably know where the title comes from - but if you don't, the "redshirts" were the expendable security personnel in the original "Star Trek", a couple of whom would invariably accompany Kirk and Spock on hazardous missions and almost invariably get killed). Terry Pratchett said, I think, something about the minions in fantasy novels who would come running in response to the call of "Guards! Guards!" deserving a book of their own - well, here is the Sf equivalent.

In fact, this is much more than an amusing read. I don't want to say too much about what happens, for fear of spoiling the story, but as well as having fun exploring his central concept, Scalzi manges to pose a number of questions about what is real and what isn't, free will, an author's responsibility to his or her characters, and what are the hallmarks of good (and bad0 SF writing (and perhaps, writing in general). And he writes a good, page turning story as well - this isn't just a parody, or a dramatisation of tvtropes.org.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good premise, but ultimately disappointing 1 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover
So, Redshirts, the new John Scalzi novel. Okay. Hmmm.

Look, I'm a fan of Scalzi's fiction. His Old Man's War books (Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony, Zoe's Tale) are excellent SF with a good story, setting, and plenty of humour in the narrative that works well. Agent to the Stars was also a really good read, as was Fuzzy Nation. But Redshirts. Man, disappointing isn't even the word.

The focus of Redshirts is the UUC Intrepid, and some newly arrived ensigns - our titicular Redshirts. The primary character is Andrew Dahl, and it's his experiences as he joins the Intrepid that we follow. There's something very wrong on this ship, and with his colleaugues miraculously disappearing at the right moments just as senior officers walk into the room, Dahl soon sets about to discover just what the hell is going on. It appears that there's a rather high percentage of crew deaths on away missions, and it is clear that certain people seem to be invulnerable to this misfortune....

I'll start with the good: Redshirts is a funny novel, a quick read, and full of references to Star Trek. I enjoyed reading it, plowing through in barely a day, simply because it's a typical Scalzi novel and his prose is easy to read - it very much has the 'one more chapter' effect. I also very much liked the fact that Redshirts focused on the minor crew members on the Intrepid, not on the bridge crew and high-ranking officials as is the case with many novels, and TV shows.

However.

Despite how much I enjoyed reading Redshirts I got the feeling, on pretty much every page, that I'd seen this before. Scalzi pays homage to Star Trek, without a doubt, and manages to do so fairly well, but that's its biggest failing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, Not Great 4 Jun 2013
By M. G. Chisholm TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Scalzi has written some great sci-fi such as Old Man's War, however he has misfired a little on this curious mix of parody, comedy and pathos.

Essentially we have a crew of a space ship who have come to realise that they always end up getting offed whilst the senior officers lead a charmed life. Just like Star Trek whom Scalzi has some clearly disparaging ideas about. The thread of the story is the bit part players trying to work out why this is happening and to somehow stop it. I won't say too much more or it will give the game away.

What somewhat spoils this is the fact that to start with Scalzi is writing a comedy, then it turns into a parody eventually becoming a little confusing and a lot serious. It's a bit like the newer Terry Pratchett stories where the initial part of the book is good fun but tapers off towards the end. I just wish that if a book starts off this way it would continue rather than becoming ever more schizophrenic.

Effectively we have a mix of Star Trek and Galaxy Quest with some of Jasper Fford's Thursday Next chucked in for good measure. It's not all bad but it could have been great.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars You'd think it's just techy fanfic, but you'd be wrong.
I expected a fun read. I got it.

What I also got was a well written story with characters I cared about. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Abizer
4.0 out of 5 stars Stick around for the Ending
The book is as clever and funny as most of Scalzi work, with lots of in jokes of trekkies and regular jokes for the rest of us mere mortals, but the extra CODA entries really make... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
The story is a slight departure from Old Man's War but contains many interesting ideas. The story is pacy and John's writing is a delight.
Published 1 month ago by DAVID CHAN
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Meta read
This got picked up in my local book shop just because the concept sounded intriguing. I am so glad I did. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Colin Murtagh
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best (Not) Star Trek book ever!
Bought this, read it in just a couple of days.
I love Scalzi's writing style, it's very reminiscent of Harry Harrison. Read more
Published 1 month ago by S. Beckett
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun book
For any fan of Sci-Fi this is a fun read. Don't expect a masterpiece but it's a fun throwaway read.
Published 1 month ago by ken savage
3.0 out of 5 stars Tale of the redshirts
Ah, redshirts. Any geek worth their salt knows about them -- random extras on "Star Trek" who die in almost every episode. Read more
Published 1 month ago by E. A Solinas
4.0 out of 5 stars Redshirts
An enjoyable story that makes the characters believable and interesting. The reader quickly drawn into a fictional world within a world of fiction.
Published 2 months ago by Mr. H. C. Eggleton
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his better novels
I usually enjoy Scalzi's books but I found this one a bit disappointing. The basic idea is great but the plot seems to run out of steam about half way through the book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by B. Johnston
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but poorly written
The first two-thirds of the book were very enjoyable but descends into twee s***e in the last act. By the time I got to the three codas I had lost most of my interest. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. Prince
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